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Southeast Asia, explained

It's official: Aung San Suu Kyi joins Myanmar's government

From confinement to parliament in 18 months
Aung san suu kyi oath 2012 05 02Enlarge
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2nd L) along with other elected members of parliament read a parliamentary oath during a session in Naypyidaw, Myanmar on May 2, 2012. (SOE THAN WIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Stubborn opposition to Myanmar's govenment is the key to her mystique.

And now, in a sense, she is the government.

Though Myanmar watchers have seen it coming for months, this image of Aung San Suu Kyi swearing into parliament is still quite startling. After enduring prison, house arrest, assassination attempts and more, the country's dissident-in-chief is aligned with her former enemies in hopes of changing the army-backed system from within.

According to the New York Times, Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters today that she has "tremendous good will toward the military ... it doesn't in any way bother me to sit with them." Asked by Reuters about today's significance, she replied "only time will tell."

Aung San Suu Kyi may find that confinement was easy compared to her pending challenge: fulfilling the hopes of every Myanmar citizen who has longed for this day.

Their expectations may prove overwhelming. During the election, a campaign manager for one of her party's candidates told Global Post that Aung San Suu Kyi mania is "more than excitement or surprise or any other emotion you can express ... it’s more like a second religion, and now, as soon they have a chance, the people worship her.”

Questions about these outsized expectations will be answered in time. But for today at least, it's worth taking a step back from the frenzied Myanmar coverage to marvel at this historic turn of events.

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/suu-kyi-joins-parliament